Dutch F-16 fighter jets take part in NATO mission over Libya

Dutch F-16 fighter jets were taking part in a NATO mission over Libya, but were not involved in air strikes, the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

A statement issued by Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and Defence Minister Hans Hillen said although the Netherlands is not against ground attacks to protect civilians, they see no military reason for Dutch planes to be involved.

The statement emphasized that Dutch pilots did not bomb ground targets themselves, but were trying to help their foreign allies by enforcing the no-fly zone.

The Dutch planes secured their NATO partners and provided information on troop movements and bomb damage to the command center, it said.

Since the start of the mission, Dutch F-16s have carried out 180 flights.

[Source: Xinhua, The Hague, 18May11]

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